Islam Makhachev continued his climb up the UFC’s lightweight rankings on Saturday when he submitted Thiago Moises in the fourth round of their main event bout.

Makhachev Moises Tate Velasquez
Islam Makhachev (bottom) continued his march up the UFC lightweight rankings by submitting Thiago Moises (top) on Saturday night. (Image: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa)

Makhachev (20-1) dominated Moises from start to finish, consistently finding ways to get into dominant positions on the ground, and to land ground-and-pound or threaten submission finishes.

Makhachev calls out dos Anjos

Makhachev finished the fight with a rear-naked choke at 2:38 in the fourth round to hand Moises (15-5) the first loss by submission of his career.

Makhachev has now won eight straight bouts. His only career loss came via knockout to Adriano Martins back in 2015. Moises found few ways to generate offense against the Russian, who was a training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and remains friends with the former lightweight champion.

After the fight, Makhachev called out Rafael dos Anjos, another former champion in the lightweight division. Makhachev has complained that higher-ranked fighters are ducking him, presumably afraid of his combination of overwhelming wrestling and solid kickboxing skills.

“Why all these guys run?” Makhachev said after his win. “Nobody want to take this fight. Please give me an answer.”

Not everyone was impressed with Makhachev, however. Dan Hooker (20-10) took shots at the rising star, who himself had dismissed Hooker in his prefight press conferences.

“I kind of was watching and on fast forward. I got bored,” Hooker said on Submission Radio. “It just doesn’t make sense for those guys to go out there with the notion that everyone’s afraid of them. I truly believe like no one in that top 15 is afraid to fight anyone else in the top 15.”

Velasquez earns split decision victory over Kielholtz

Juliana Velasquez ran her record up to 12-0 after successfully defending her flyweight championship against Denise Kielholtz at Bellator 262 on Friday. Velasquez won via a split decision. All three judges scored the fight 48-47, with two of the three giving Velasquez the win.

The taller Velasquez found success on the outside, landing jabs from distance to keep Kielholtz (6-3) – a kickboxing champion – at bay. “I showed here that I can fight on the outside as well and withstand the pressure,” Velasquez said afterward. “I think that’s what also makes a champion.”

Miesha Tate scores TKO in UFC return

In her first fight since 2016, Miesha Tate scored a third-round TKO victory over Marion Reneau in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday. The 34-year-old Tate retired five years ago after losing to Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington. Tate (19-7) announced her return to MMA earlier this year.

After taking some time to feel out the fight, Tate took control with takedowns in each of the three rounds. She was able to mount Reneau’s back in the third round, landing repeated blows to her head and forcing the referee to stop the fight.

The 44-year-old Reneau (9-8-1) retired immediately after the bout.